$39,000 car chase damage goes unpaid

Losses of $39,000 damage from a police pursuit are left unpaid as Joseph Steven Rogers begins a rehabilitative sentence.

Rogers, 43, ends five months in custody, and begins a term of drugs rehabilitation at Odyssey House next week.

He has been ordered to pay a half-share for one $11,000 vehicle that has never been found since he took it for a test drive.

But an insurance company has been left with the $39,000 bill for another stolen vehicle he used in a high speed chase through suburban Christchurch and then rammed into a police car.

At Rogers’ Christchurch District Court sentencing, Judge Kevin Phillips opted not to impose the full reparation bill because Rogers had no income and no assets.

Rogers was jailed for six months but that will be covered by the time he has already spent in custody on remand. Next week, Corrections will deliver him to the drug rehabilitation centre in Burnside.

He will be on home detention while he does that course – the first time rehabilitation has been tried with Rogers. He has already completed the “Meth and Me” programme while in custody.

Judge Phillips said he commended Rogers for his “positive attitude towards intervention” and his agreement to abide by the terms of home detention.

Defence counsel Clare Yardley said a sentencing indication had been given by another judge, and urged that the indication of the home detention and rehabilitation be imposed.

Judge Phillips agreed that rehabilitation was a better option than a term of community work. “It would be setting him up to fail because of the other inhabitants fo the community work centre.”

The judge said Rogers and another person had taken an $11,000 car for a test drive at a car sales yard, and it had never been seen again. The yard’s owner, who was away on holiday at the time, had intended to keep the car himself and it was not insured.

Rogers borrowed another car from a man he had known for six years, who considered him a friend. He was meant to use it to move some possessions, but then told the man he would not be getting his car back.

The car has been recovered, but the owner is now less trusting of other people.

In August last year, Rogers was in a stolen car in Christchurch when he drove away from a service station without paying for fuel. The car had been stolen in a burglary, and fitted with false registration plates.

Police tried to stop Rogers in the car two days later, but he sped off through Shirley and Mairehau at up to 80km an hour. He slowed at intersections but did not give way.

Police abandoned the pursuit but when they found him in Innes Road soon after, he sped off again and rammed a police car. He was aggressive and resisted arrest when they stopped him in Frances Avenue. Police found 0.25g of methamphetamine in the car.

He admitted charges of unlawfully taking a car, driving dangerously, driving while disqualified, theft, failing to stop, and assaulting a police officer using a car as a weapon.

Judge Phillips said the offending took place while he was on sentence release conditions and on bail.

He noted that Rogers was now “motivated and positive” to learn the skills to keep himself away from methamphetamine.

He imposed a six month jail term which is about to end, and nine months of home detention at Odyssey House which will be followed by six months of release conditions.

He will pay a half-share of the value of one car, of $5425, and the $500 owner’s excess on another, but the judge made no order covering the insurance company’s loss. A co-offender is likely to be ordered to pay the other half share on the first car when she is sentenced separately.

Rogers was disqualified from driving until January 24, 2021.